Candace Ku's daughter opens her lunch box each day to find not just Chinese food -- but her favorite cartoon characters made of rice, pork, veggies and other ingredients.
At school, the 11-year-old Hong Kong girl chows down on Pokemon sandwiches and Harry Potter rice plates, but she isn't the only one who gets a kick out of her mom's bento-box artwork. Ku's more than 35,000 Instagram followers like and comment on her food art every day.
While Ku enjoys sharing photos of her lunches, she works hard in the kitchen for her daughter's happiness, according to the Daily Mail. When Ku and her family moved four years ago, her daughter had trouble making new friends at her new school.
"At the beginning of the school term, she came back home and told me she had no one to play with," Ku said. "... The next day, I tried to make her a simple bear-shaped rice ball in her lunchbox, as I wanted to cheer her up on another lonely school day.
"That day, when she came back, she was so excited to tell me that so many classmates surrounded her to see her lunchbox, and she made a lot of friends. So, starting that day, I tried to make my girl more cute lunch boxes in the hope she could make more and more friends."
Two years later, she began posting photos of the cartoon lunches online.
"Some of my fans and followers tell me that my bento makes their day," Ku said.
"This kind of spiritual support is also a kind of motivation for me to keep working on my bento," she added.
Ku's 8-year-old daughter and husband also like digging in to Ku's creations, which are apparently just as tasty as they are time-consuming to prepare. She spends hours crafting pig-themed sushi rolls and teddy-bear noodle bowls, and they spend minutes devouring them.
Rice is the magic ingredient for most of Ku's cartoon characters, but she also uses slices of ham and cheese, carrot and broccoli shapes, and seaweed cutouts to perfect their props and facial features. Colorful veggies and protein brighten up the background.
Even breakfast gets the cartoon treatment; pancakes become smiling animal faces, and egg yolks are turned into Pikachu frog-in-a-hole toasts.
Check out Ku's Instagram to see more than 800 crafty meals.